Tribune: State Bill Introduced That Would Address High Water Rates

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews 

The Chicago Tribune reported on Feb. 17 about proposed state legislation, introduced in Springfield last week, that “aims to create a new Cook County water infrastructure fund to help pay for system upgrades and bolster state oversight in an attempt to prevent municipalities from overcharging other towns for Lake Michigan water.” 

State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (8th), who introduced the bill in the Illinois House, said that the measure would address the county’s inequitable system of high, disparate water rates.

The proposal comes in the wake of a three-part Chicago Tribune investigation published last October that revealed that low-income, predominantly minority suburbs in Cook County consistently pay more for water (in the form of higher rates and high re-connection fees, among other costs) than the wealthiest suburbs in the county.

Those financially strapped communities, which include places like Maywood, Harvey and Dolton, suffer from old, leaky pipes that contribute to massive water loss and high monthly bills.

For instance, Maywood, the Tribune found, has the highest water loss “and seventh-highest monthly water bills among towns in the Chicago area that receive Lake Michigan water their water systems.”

Ford said that the state infrastructure fund would provide grants to municipalities in Cook County that need money for system improvements.

The legislation would also attempt to require the Environmental Protection Agency to watch municipalities such as Melrose Park that provide water to other towns to make sure they “are not charging more than the actual cost of providing water,” Ford told the Tribune.

Read the full Tribune article here. VFP 

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